Farmington High School smashes to victory in inaugural Utah eSports Championship

Utah Esports Championship
Posted at 3:23 PM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 18:58:55-04

FARMINGTON, Utah — Farmington High School is now home to a state Smash champion after winning the Super Smash Bros. 1 v 1 State Championship Thursday.

The event was streamed over Zoom to all Utah high schools that had participated in the regional tournaments leading to the championship.

As FOX 13 previously reported, this championship was facilitated by ITeam USA, which offers its eSports program to schools throughout the state of Utah.

While the livestream was plagued with a number of audio issues, all eyes were focused on the flashy fracas as students and spectators bore witness to high-level play usually seen in professional tournaments, where knowledge of the game’s inner workings can make the difference between victory and defeat.

In a series of 5 fast-paced matches, Spencer “WatermelonMan” Wright from Farmington took home the win against Nathan “BBQ” Swiderski from Westlake High School with four wins and one loss.

Wright fought as "Steve," the protagonist of Mojang’s best-selling sandbox game, Minecraft, who was added to the roster of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate last October. Swiderski fought as the Pokémon, "Jigglypuff," who has been a mainstay in the series since the original Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64.

"My secret to winning... just playing very patiently," Wright said in the post-match interview. "Not rushing it, not being greedy for damage…”

In Super Smash Bros., the player’s goal is to damage their opponent’s character and eventually knock them out of the arena. Each character has a repertoire of standard and special attacks ranging from punches, kicks, grabs, and techniques drawn from the respective game series they’re pulled from.

Following a strict ruleset outlined by ITeam USA, the matches were timed stock matches, with each player having three stocks, or lives, and a maximum time limit of 8 minutes. Items, a controversial game mechanic in the tournament scene, was disabled and players were limited to a set list of stages to ensure that the outcome was attributed to player skill, as opposed to in-game hazards.

After the match, a number of awards were given out to students for other ITeam computer science competitions, with the ITeam USA staff, comprised of students themselves, receiving special accolades from State Sen. Dan Thatcher (R-West Valley City).

“With tenacity, with courage, and with pioneering spirit,” said Thatcher. “These young people really took the vision of ITeam and helped spread it throughout the state and to all of their fellow students.”

In addition to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, ITeam USA also facilitates events for Riot Games’ League of Legends and Psyonix’s Rocket League.

The match was commentated by Connor “SDH” Cameron and McKay “Zurg” Oustrich, the respective chief officers for Digital Media and eSports for ITeam USA.